The live he lives is slowly killing him. His extended familiy thinks he has a mystery girlfriend. But that's not true. He loves men. And confides this in a letter to his parents.
Dear Mummy and Daddy,
I want do confide in both of you.
I love you both. I admire you both.
I respect you both.
I hope that you know that?
It was not easy raising all six of us. All my life I wonder what has driven you. I do not know if I have your perserverance. You worry about all of us, your children. Are we happy? Will we be able to fend for ourselves once you are gone? Will you see your grandchildren and show them off to your friends? Speaking on behalf of my brothers and sisters, I want to reassure you both that we can take care of ourselves. You showed us how. You will have grandchildren, although perhaps not how you anticipated.
In principle, I have many of the same aspirations for myself as you do for me. I want children; sons. I like the number six. Kind, loving, happy men who respect and cherish their families and who confide in me, their father. I want a home full of laughter and chatter that is welcoming. A menagerie of pets and a lush garden, extendeing into the home in which the boys can run amok, under my benevolent dictatorship, of course. A safe haven for my boys, extended family and friedns. On weekends, you can have the boys to keep you company.
I like the thought of enquiring about his family, like in the old days. Are the parents still togehter, in a loving, nurturing realtionship? Are they repected in their community? Are there cases of genetically transmitted ailments; physiological, psychological or otherwise? You say they privide insightson whether we share common values, and whether they are well adjusted - all important in forming and sustaining an enduring relationship.
Going a step further, I might even be persuaded to participate in rites such as paying dowry - a precursor to a lavish wedding? We could enjoy ourselves and also make sure that they talk about your son's wedding for years to come. Would you like that?
So in principle, Daddy and Mummy, we all want the same things. However there is the matter of me being gay. Mthinks it is surmontable. You: irreconciable? I have never told you.
It explains why at my 'advanced' age, I have never brought a girl home. It explains why I increasingly find gatherings of extended family so trying: the strain as I deflect questions about my mystery girlfriend. I find it hard relating with my male and female relations under the traditional, defined roles.
I love men, their look, their feel, their touch. I have known this the last twenty seven years; all my adult life. I think I emphasize with women; what they put up with for the sake of our menfolk. If these to debate another time... I have put so much on hold because I am afraid to lose you both.
I would have hate for you to think poorly of me. But Mum and Dad, this live tries me. It is slowly killing me. I do not want to marry a woman. It would be too much to involve another so intimately in this lie I already live.
Mummy and Daddy, for all our sakes, we need to let go. So that we can live, we can soar. It would be an everlasting girl that would reverberate through generations yet to be born. Do not be afraid, you raised your children well. Just think how the debate on dowry would go; who would pay? What fun.
If you cannot, I need to stop clinging. From where and how do I the courage?
I love you both.
January 6, 2013
This text was published in "Invisible. Stories from Kenya’s Queer Community", Kenya 2014.
About the bookInvisible tells stories about homosexuals in Kenya. The journalist and activist Keven Mwachiro travelled around the country and met stories from the queer community.